Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Not So Persuasive

October 22, 2013

How is it possible that people don't understand how ineffective it is to persuade others that their opinion is the 'correct' one by belittling the intelligence of those who disagree with them? That's a terrible rhetorical strategy. Makes me think that most folks aren't, in fact, trying to be persuasive; they're just enamored of their own voices and opinions and enjoy stoking the fires. I suppose it makes them feel superior in some way.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Broader Perspective

October 21, 2013

“Some pursue happiness; others create it.”  Which one are you?

Most of us, I suspect, don’t either pursue or create happiness.  Like all things, there’s a balance to be had there.  There are things I pursue which I believe might make me happy.  I pursued a career path I believed would make me happiest; I pursued a traditional family because I believed being married and having children would make me happy.  Heck, I’ve even pursued the perfect shoe, because nice shoes make me feel good about myself and how I look.  These things have, in fact, made me happy, and I continue to seek out situations and opportunities I feel will enhance my health, wellness, and general sense of contentedness.

Of course, that’s only half the equation—a piece of the balance I try to maintain in my life.  If I was only happy if I got everything I wanted at any given time, I would be a sad, sad individual.  Things do not always go my way, even when I actively work to make those things happen.  Needless to say, I don’t control all the variables in my life.  What I do control, however, is my reaction to them.  When I don’t get something I really want (a job opportunity, for example), or when something goes awry in my everyday life (the air conditioner goes on the fritz in the middle of a 105 degree July day), I often get angry or frustrated or overwhelmed or sad.  But If I let myself stay there and sink into those negative spaces, I might never recover.  I’ve seen it.  There are those who let themselves be mired in the ugliness of anger or cynicism or resentment, and they can’t seem to find their way back.  The longer you stay there in those spaces, the harder it is to come back to the possibility of seeing a broader perspective.  The interesting thing about those who dwell in those negative spaces is that they often convince themselves that they are the only ones who can see ‘reality’, and that those who are happy or content are merely too vapid or naïve to see the ‘truth’.  The truth, in actuality, is that happiness is a choice.  You can choose to see a broader perspective.  That’s not naiveté; that’s mental health.

Broader perspective?  That’s how I create happiness for myself.  When I don’t get the job I was hoping for, I have to assume that it’s for the best, and that something else I’m more suited for will turn up unexpectedly.  When my air conditioner decides to call it quits on the hottest day of the year, I can grumble and moan (and believe me, I do!), but I can also say, at least I’ve got a pool.  Even more importantly, at least I’ve got a home where my kids have a safe place to stay.  It’s an old house, and it requires repairs and TLC to keep it a home, but it is, indeed, a home.  My family is together and intact; we are healthy and we are loved.  And we are happy.  Why?  Because that’s what we choose.  That’s what we create.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Today, I am Tired

October 16, 2013

Oh, my head hurts....  One of my kids told me today that I treat them like babies because I tell them what to read, instead of always letting them choose.  I asked him what he'd rather me do, and he said he'd like to just have autonomy to read whatever he wants and just do little book summaries.  In the real world and in college, he says, they get to choose everything for themselves.  So I told him when he gets to college and lets his Poly Sci teacher and his English 1A and his Communications teacher know that he'll be picking out all of his own reading material for himself, to let me know.  I hope that works out for him.  And when he's working a job, I hope he lets his boss know that he wants to pick and choose which manuals and policies and emails he's going to read, so that Bossman doesn't hold him responsible for any of the ones he opts out of.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I'm a Kitten Wrangler

October 2, 2013

Imagine you have 40 adorable, bright-eyed kittens in charming kitten bed. You want them to follow you outside into the bright sunshine. You coax them, you call them, you entreat them, you cajole them. All at the same time. Some of them, the more timid ones, like the kitten bed. They want to stay there. They think maybe if they're quiet, you won't make them leave. Some of the kittens step paws out gingerly, slowly. Little baby kitty steps for them. Some of the kitties step right out confidently, marching along the path leading to the front door and out into the sunshine. And some of the kittens--about half, I'd say-- don't wait to see where they're going. They just hear 'GO' and barrel out the cozy kitten bed, flailing every which way, rolling, tumbling, occasionally landing on top of one another and leading each other down circuitous routes before they realize there was a destination in mind--or maybe they DID realize there was a destination in mind but wanted to take the scenic route to get there. Adorable kitten wrangling is what I do with my sixth period every day. Gotta love 'em. Anybody who doesn't understand why a teacher is tired at the end of a work day need only step into one of these classes. Also, anybody who doesn't understand why teachers love the careers they are blessed with need only to meet these energetic and delightful kiddos.